Guest Ruth Bremar has sailed on the m/s Paul Gauguin many times. She shares her experience of the islands and aboard in her latest blog - My Blue Lagoon.
My Blue Lagoon – By Ruth Bremar
When I take a vacation, a retreat, a holiday, a siesta, I start with the basic fundamentals of what I wish my escape to achieve. Where is the best to go and how to achieve it? Simple or intensive?
In the past, the path of my thought process was hard to capture. The fact that my list can be exceptionally comprehensive or exceedingly simple does not give pause to my choice. There is one destination and one ship that afford me everything on my wish list. It is French Polynesia on the m/s Paul Gauguin.
My list goes somewhat like this. What will take my breath away? What will remain forever etched in my memory? Is the planning an uncomplicated process? In the end, what do I bring back from the experience?
I want to wake before the sunrise and watch its majesty without interruption. Aboard The Gauguin, I remember sipping Champagne at 5 a.m. on Deck 8, outside La Palette, watching the colors along the horizon change from blues and golds to the most enthralling shades of silver. I felt as if I was staring into the very eye of nature. It captured my gaze and is forever locked in the recesses of my memory. What a powerful way to begin a new morn. The memory still takes my breath away.
Sunset, in retrospect, on The Gauguin is just as stunning. One’s mind is incredulous as to the play of colors—gold of the most ancient artifacts, fiery sensuous reds, unmuted pinks, and for those lucky viewers, the totally amazing and most elusive green flash. Thanks to the ship, I have seen it. How magnificent to see a quirk of nature that is so fast, it is usually confined to memory. I saw my first green flash in 2008, and I will never forget it. In French Polynesia, no two sunrises or sunsets are identical. One can never tire of this visually stunning beauty.
I seek the moment when my body is still, my mind is calm, and all that is required of me, is to breathe, to absorb, to be. Aboard The Gauguin, this is never an issue. To my mind’s eye, it is HGTV Live! No need for fine tuning, no need to pause the viewing channel. The beauty wraps you in a cocoon, while the ship gently rocks you in its arms. I breathe. I am unencumbered, so I sit and listen. I commune with nature. I find that I sing ever so softly. I hum.
I wish to dance without any inhibition. I wish to dance as if born to it. Will it be in the soft rain? Will it be with the enchanting Les Gauguines and Gauguins? Can I sit and just enjoy? Never in all my travels, and I have traveled extensively, have I seen dancing as in French Polynesia. Centuries-old movements have evolved into the most fluid, sensual, and fiercely traditional dances of French Polynesia today. There is a grace and beauty in each motion. Each hand gesture tells a story. First you watch with awe, followed later with picking up the subtle nuances that make dances performed in the Grand Salon exceptional. For example, the dances vary in the performance of “The Five Archipelagos.” You see different dance forms from the five groups of islands that make up French Polynesia. The Gauguines on The Gauguin actually perform a dance capturing just this, and it will capture your heart!
Egotistical, but can I look for a day built truly around me? Motu Mahana! The ultimate barbecue and floating bar. Nowhere else can you learn to dye a pareo, buy the long sought-after Tahitian black pearls, discover how Tahitians care for their beautiful hair, and find out how to make Poisson Cru. It is also a place to relax with your newest friends. Well-heeled travelers immerse themselves totally on Motu Mahana. Enjoy great food and drinks from HUGE coconuts filled with your favorite libation. Then, snorkel, swim, kayak or learn about vanilla. Yes, this vacation has all the ingredients, and then some, from my itinerary bucket list.
If I desire a quiet retreat or if my body and soul require a transitional shift from the everyday ho-hum, the spa is just the place. A personal massage on Motu Mahana, where my spa space is complete seclusion overlooking the shimmering azure lagoon, and my view is The Gauguin in the faraway distance. Magical, mystical, and centering.
The onboard Deep Nature Spa also is a sanctuary. I can forget the outside world, enliven my senses, and let go. I inhale the monoi, tiare blossoms, and frangipani. Where else can I be pampered with treatments called the Tahitian Wave, Bora Bora Deep Blue Massage, and Polynesian Treat? I de-stress and breathe.
Oh, the adventures you’ll try!
The new horizons you’ll see!
New friends to meet!
History to unfold!
Paradigm shifts come easily as a result of the The Gauguin experience. I certainly have had profound life lessons and thought-provoking moments. I look at vistas from the ship’s deck or my veranda, and I am in total awe of the majesty of these islands. What is most amazing is that I have had that shift repeated on subsequent returns to my second home—The Gauguin.
If you wish to expand your horizons, enlighten your thought process, learn about mysterious legends passed down for centuries, and just have boundless fun, it’s The Gauguin. Be ready to shift your view. It will constantly change in unexpected ways.
I peer through the mist and see the raw beauty.
I wait for the light, to capture my heart.
I live in the moment and open my soul.
I close my eyes, and the peace never leaves.
Nana, Au revoir, Sayonara, Arrivederci, Auf Wiedersehen, Bai Bai, Adios my friend, The Gauguin…until we meet again!